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LET THERE BE NO VAIN OR SINFUL TALK

In the chapter Al-Waqi‘ah (The Inevitable Event) the Qur’an tells us about Paradise. How people will live in Paradise is portrayed as follows: They will not hear therein any vain or sinful talk, only words of peace and tranquillity. (56:25-26)

Paradise of the Hereafter is an ideal society. The present world is like a recruiting ground, in which people are being put to the test. Those who qualify for this test will gain entry to Paradise. The present world is a selecting ground and Paradise is a place where those selected will be settled. One quality required of the people of Paradise is the ability to refrain from creating a nuisance for others, i.e. the ability to live in a society in complete peace and tranquillity. Those who prove that they have the capacity to live according to this norm will be included in the list of those who will be settled in Paradise. According to the Qur’an, there are two criteria for anyone to be included in the society of Paradise; the first is that they should live in complete peace, thus ensuring peace and tranquillity for other members of society. Then the second condition is that they should refrain from creating a nuisance for others. In other words, they must prove to be no-problem members of society. Although the above-mentioned verse is about the society of Paradise, it tells us what kind of social values are acceptable in the present world as well. When we keep in mind that the present world is a selecting ground, then it becomes very clear that in both places the same ethical norms are required—in the present world as well as in the world hereafter.

One quality required of the people of Paradise is the ability to refrain from creating a nuisance for others, i.e. the ability to live in a society in complete peace and tranquillity. So every man and woman must be very cautious in this regard. You must understand that when you create a nuisance for others, it is not simply a problem for those others but is also a great problem for you because such behavior will certainly prevent you from being included in the list of those who will enter Paradise. No one can afford to indulge in this kind of behavior.

How should we define ‘nuisance’? Any part of your behavior that is found undesirable by your fellow beings is a nuisance. You cannot say that you did not act in this manner for the sake of creating a nuisance for others; it is not your opinion that determines what is a nuisance and what is not; it is your fellow beings who have the sole right to determine what is a nuisance and what is not. In this situation, you have no excuse; you have no right to say that your intentions were good. In this case, good intentions and bad intentions are not relevant; the only thing that matters is the reaction of your fellow beings. If your behavior is acceptable to your fellow beings, then it is not a nuisance and if your behavior is not acceptable to your fellow beings, then it is certainly a nuisance. ‘Nuisance’ is obviously not a sin. But it is as bad as a sin because when you hurt the sentiments of your fellow beings, your actions in terms of their results are certainly a sin.

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